Create or Recreate a Catalog

When you open a Windows image (.wim) file in Windows System Image Manager (Windows SIM), a catalog (.clg) file is automatically created. If a catalog file already exists, Windows SIM recreates the catalog based on the contents of the Windows image that you select. When a catalog is created, it queries the Windows image for a listing of all of the settings in that image.

A "catalog" is a binary file that lists all the settings in a Windows image (.wim) file. Catalogs are smaller and more portable than Windows image files. For example, catalogs are typically less than 5 MB, while Windows image files can be 1.5 GB or more. Due to their smaller size, catalogs can be easily copied to removable media, shared to a network folder, or sent as attachments in e-mail. Catalog files can also be opened by users who are not administrators. More than one user can open a catalog at a time.

The Windows retail DVD includes pre-generated catalog files for each Windows image inside install.wim. These catalog files are in the Sources directory of the retail DVD and can be used to create an answer file for a Windows image in the default install.wim file. However, if you intend to create a catalog for a custom Windows image, you should use Image Manager to recreate the catalog for that custom Windows image.


Because the contents of a Windows image can change over time, it is recommended that you recreate the catalog file periodically.

To create or recreate a catalog file

  1. Open Windows SIM.
  2. Open a Windows image. For more information, see Open a Windows Image or Catalog File
  3. On the Tools menu, select Create Catalog.
    The Open a Windows Image dialog box opens.
  4. Select a Windows image (.wim) file, and then click Open.
  5. If you choose a Windows image file that has more than one Windows image, the Select an Image dialog box opens.
  6. Click to select an image type (for example, Windows Vista Ultimate), and then click OK.
    The catalog file is created in the same directory as the .wim file that you selected.

See Also


Understanding Windows Image Files and Catalog Files
What is Windows System Image Manager?